Resource Centre

Ventilation vs Sterilisation: Why do we need either?

What is the difference between ventilation and sterilisation, and which provides the best virus management solution for me?

To better answer this question we must first understand the difference between ventilation and sterilisation; air ventilation is the process of circulating outside air into and through a room, whilst also extracting the inside air out of the building. It is the process of air movement.

Sterilisation on the other hand cleans the air in a space, typically through exposing it to UV-C light panels. UV-C has been proven to kill all known viruses and effectively disinfect surfaces and the air we breathe.

Good ventilation is needed and exists in all publicly used buildings as a legal requirement but these systems may be old and in need of an upgrade or under maintained. This can come at a heavy cost, especially when retro-fitting ventilation units on to and throughout old buildings that were not designed as music venues at their inception (which accounts for a significant proportion of the grassroots music venue community). There may also be significant costs associated if updating within a listed building or finding appropriate space on the façade of a building to accommodate the extraction unit.

Alternatively, air sterilisation, specifically UV-C light sterilisation that kills all viruses once exposed to the light is a very affordable and space-saving option. Small units that contain fans to draw in the air and UV-C light panels that eliminate the virus within the air can sit in corners of a room out of the way or be fixed into the ceiling or strategically placed in or near ‘pinch points’ (toilets, corridors, green rooms) to sterilise airborne viruses before they have the chance to spread.

UV-C, not to be confused with the widely used but extremely harmful UVA from tanning beds or UVB from the Sun, can still be harmful if exposed onto skin for long periods of time, however, when contained within a fully cased unit with the function of drawing air towards the light panel it is fully safe when used with people in the room. Furthermore, the casing can be removed to create a directional disinfecting spotlight that will destroy viruses that have settled onto surfaces.

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